Today is the day that Kauto Star attempts to make racing history by winning the King George chase at Kempton for a remarkable 5th time, which is as much a training performance for Paul Nicholls as an equine performance for the horse.
I will not be backing the horse at today's odds tho' as for me he is not an odds-on chance, but I will not be laying him either. The reasons I consider Kauto Star not to be an odds-on chance are:-
jockey - I do not believe that AP McCoy's style of riding is suitable;
going - it is soft in places, and it will be the 3rd chase race run over the track today, it will be cutting up;
recent form - my opinion (which differs from that of Ruby Walsh) is that the run at Down Royal was disappointing;
age - time marches on and, sooner or later, age will start to tell.
I have previously advised that the eachway market is full of value and I'm on PLANET OF SOUND @ 20/1. You may even be tempted by the without the fav market, which has PLANET OF SOUND at 8/1 (5th odds) with Paddy Power. The horse could come 4th (with KS in the 1st-3) and you'd still collect more money that a straight win bet on Kauto Star (should he win of course).
My sole win bet today is on BINOCULAR @ 11/4. He has drifted from 2/1 earlier this week, but given the recent form of his trainer Nicky Henderson (3 wins from 3 runners y'day and 17 wins from 41 runners in past 14-days) I very much doubt that this horse will appear today unprepared to do his best. The winner of the Christmas Hurdle today (so long as it's Binocular or Kyber Kim) will immediately become the 3/1 fav for the Champion Hurdle, so it may be worth taking the odds for that race before this is run today.
In the handicap hardle at 1:20, ZANIR from my alert list runs. This is a perfect opportunity for the horse, a competitive handicap on a RH track. Claimer Ian Popham is worth every ounce of his 5lb claim and at odds of 22/1 (Bet365, but lots of 20's available), he is an eachway chance. The gamble on Ski Sunday has distorted the market somewhat for this, so take advantage of the place value available.
Finally, James De Vassy ran a cracker to be 3rd in the Coral Cup at the last Festival, and today's Lanzarote at 3:35 is the sort of race this lightly-raced 6yo will relish.
Kempton 1:20, ZANIR, ½pt each way @ 22/1 (Bet365)
Kempton 2:25, BINOCULAR, 2pt win @ 11/4
Kempton 3:00, PLANET OF SOUND, ½pt each way @ 20/1
Total 3pts staked
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